Friday Q&A: The OL, unsung heroes, and more

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1: Could you provide an assessment of Stacy Searels over his first year with the team? I am interested in your take on the performance of the OL as a unit as well as the growth of the OL over the season. Depth/talent concerns seem to be a focus of the staff and look to be trending up, but have you seen a marked improvement in cohesion issues that have plagued the VT OL over the past years?

Stacy Searels
Stacy Searels

Chris Coleman: That’s a great question. A few years back, it was common for Tech offensive linemen to be confused by simple twists and stunts, to not recognize blitzes, and in general to appear to have no idea what they were doing on the field.

I was friends with one of our former offensive linemen under Curt Newsome. He told me that before he enrolled at Tech, Newsome sent him the playbook and expected him to be able to know and execute all the plays before he even had a practice under his belt. That’s not really possible as a lineman, because there are multiple fronts, different blitz packages, etc., and blocking against those different looks has to be taught by a coach in practice. You can’t simply read the play off a piece of paper and then execute it without issues, without ever having practiced it. Yet that is exactly what Newsome expected out of this particular player when he was a true freshman. Point being, I don’t think Newsome ever really knew how to teach his players, which is why they looked clueless half the time.